BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
The Park District of Ottawa County did not have to look very far to find its first Executive Director since passing its levy in 2020. Jannah Wilson, 40, an experienced park official at the Lorain County Metro Parks, didn’t have to move to sign on for the new position in Ottawa County.
“I live on the Marblehead Peninsula with my husband, Scott Wilson, and I’ve been working for the Lorain Metroparks for 15 years in a variety of positions,” said Wilson. “Coming aboard as Executive Director of The Park District of Ottawa County is a perfect fit for me.
“I had worked in virtually every capacity at the Lorain County Metro Parks, starting as a naturalist and eventually heading the Outdoor Experiences crew before moving into management positions.
“I’ve supervised educational and recreational programs at the Lorain County Metro Parks, and more recently had been involved in park operations, including budgets, overall planning and grant writing.”
Wilson has a Bachelor’s Degree from Central Michigan University with a major in Outdoor and Environmental Recreation and a minor in
Natural Resources. Before joining the Lorain County Metro Parks as a naturalist, she worked seasonally as a naturalist at Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota), P.J. Hoffmaster State Park (Michigan), Pokagon State Park (Indiana), and the Degraaf Nature Center (Michigan).
Throughout her career with Lorain County Metro Parks she has gained a wide range of experiences, from nature-based educational programming to outdoor recreation program design and implementation. Her expertise includes outdoor skills such as camping, backpacking, fishing, orienteering, survival, shelter building and paddle sports.
“I chose this career path because I love the outdoors, and I truly enjoy sharing outdoor experiences with others,” she said. “My hobbies including activities with my husband and our two daughters, boating and fishing Lake Erie during the warmer months, and traveling.
Wilson has been scouting the area for a local office for the The Park District of Ottawa County, and working with the Board of Park Commissioners to move forward with several Ottawa County projects. The Park District of Ottawa County is working to develop multi-use trails throughout Ottawa County to connect people to parks and places.
This month, work is being done to seek a grant to complete the Genoa to Millbury section of the North Coast Inland Trail to continue the recently completed Elmore-to-Genoa section. The grant will enable to Park District to leverage the $1.1 million the park system will receive annually for 10 years from the park district levy passed in 2020, and bring state and federal money available for grants to Ottawa County.
The Park District is also working on initial trail plans and route design for a proposed Catawba Island Trail. Local residents have been very supportive and involved with the trail planning process on the Catawba Peninsula, said Wilson.
The next board meeting of the The Park District of Ottawa County will be held Tuesday,. Feb. 1 at Radiant Windows, 101 Benton St., Oak Harbor. For information about the Park District of Ottawa County visit www.ottawacountyparksoh.org.